Defining and living out the interior: the ‘modern’ apartment and the ‘urban’ housewife in Turkey during the 1950s and 1960s

Date
2009-12
Authors
Gürel, M. Ö.
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Source Title
Gender, Place and Culture
Print ISSN
0966-369X
Electronic ISSN
1360-0524
Publisher
Taylor & Francis
Volume
16
Issue
6
Pages
703 - 722
Language
English
Type
Article
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Abstract

This study investigates the interaction of women’s gendered identities and performances in the modern middle strata with the new apartment, while complicating the boundary between the legitimizing discourses of modern architecture and ideas around femininity, during the 1950s and 1960s in Turkey. It conceptualizes domestic premises as the inhabitant’s space, where gender roles are formed and performed. Drawing on research concerning the postwar construction of women’s identities and diverse ideas of feminine space in a global context, I examine how the apartment was a place for women, who were conceptualized as Western and happy housewives amid Cold War geopolitics. The study ponders ways in which women negotiated/subverted conflicting expectations of the modern housewife. The apartment mediated powerful discourses on structures of patriarchy and identities, while simultaneously allowing women to define and live out the modern domicile as active agents. It embodied the intermediate space between the concepts of modern and traditional, Western and non-Western, urban and rural, and masculine and feminine.

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Keywords
Housewife, Domestic Space, Performativity, Modern Architecture, Apartment, Turkey
Citation
Published Version (Please cite this version)